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Elizabeth Warren ducks student's question about how she's any different from Obama

'I'm going to take it in a little bit different direction if I can'

Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Sen. Elizabeth Warren avoided answering a college student who asked her during a CNN town hall how she would be different from former President Barack Obama if she were elected.

Warren and Obama have significant history with one another. In 2010, Obama picked Warren to create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a federal watchdog agency set up after the financial crisis as a part of Wall Street reform.

The exchange: The student expressed respect for former Pres. Obama, but said he had his shortcomings. So he wanted to know how Warren would philosophically approach the office of the president differently than the last Democrat to occupy the White House.

Warren heard the question, and basically disregarded it, instead going into a monologue about how she was trying to tell people about the coming financial crisis in the early 2000s.

Eventually, she vaguely addressed Obama, but still didn't answer the question.

"I got in the fight," Warren said. "President Obama signed it into law and he was the one who stood there when everyone else said in his administration throw that agency under the bus and he said, 'No, I'm not going to let this crisis pass and not come away with a consumer agency that makes sure that families ever get cheated again.' I'll always be grateful to the President for that."

Why does it matter? The Democratic Party has changed significantly since Obama was first elected. It has shifted so far left on some issues that Obama looks rather moderate in comparison to some of the candidates running in 2020.

Some, like Obama's former Vice President Joe Biden, embrace the connection to Obama. Others, like Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), seem to bristle some at the idea of being compared to Obama or asked to identify with him.

That tension is evident in Warren's refusal to directly address the question, which is unlikely to go anywhere as the primary continues.

One last thing…
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